Somewhat Simple

How to Wear a Belt – Tips From An Expert


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One of the questions I am asked by my clients all the time is How to Wear A Belt. First, let me start off by saying that your belt’s resume extends beyond the ability to secure the vertical positioning of your trousers, Specifically, your belt boasts three singular skills:

1) Outlining your narrowest point
2) Defining your silhouette both horizontally and vertically
3) Adding visual interest to your ensemble


Belt Recommendations
Other Concerns Ideal
Upper Figure Hipline Short Legs Thin Hip Belt
Long Legs Wide Hip Belt
Middle Figure Under the Bust Average Chest Size Thin to Mid-Width
Empire Belt
Below or Above Average Chest Mid to Wide Hip
Slung Belt (blouse
the top above the buckle to disguise
any insecurities)

Natural Waist Short Torso Thin to Mid-Width
Waist Belt
Long Torso Mid to Wide Width
Waist Belt
Linear Anywhere Select a Belt in Proportion to Frame Cinched, Volume Inducing Belt

First consider proportions when selecting a belt.  If you want something to appear shorter, divide it with a wider belt, alternatively a thinner belt will maintain visual length.  Also be sure that your belt mirrors your frame,  sturdy frames should avoid overly dainty belts.  And delicate frames should stray from thick corsets.

Next not all belts are cut to the same straight line.  A belt that is contoured or cut on the curve (smiling when laid down) will have an automatic narrowing effect.  If you love the look of thick belts but fear their truncating effects, try a riding belt that narrows in at the center.

Finally, account for fibers.  Thick elastic materials can offer comfort and can even girdle soft centers.  Robust leathers will secure thick woolen wears or contrast more delicate gossamers.  If you are insecure about your personal details being squished above or below a belt when you sit, favor structured woven materials over stretchy knits for the layer under your belt.

Drawing Attention
Less Definition More Definition
Matte textuers similar to the background create less definition Glossy, patent, or other high shine textures and metallic details that contrast strongly with the background create more definition
Layering a belt under a jacket or sweater creates visual interest while maintaing a cloud of mystery about the midsection Layering a belt over a jacket or sweater creates visual interest and amplifies waist definition

Lastly, avoid the most deadly of belt sins and never over constrict.  If in doubt, move it back a notch.   You don’t want abdominal details squishing out above or below your belt line.

Here, downloadable cheat sheet:

(This post was written by our Fashion Contributor Reachel Bagely from Cardigan Empire in December 2011)

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